Roses in the Cultural Desert

Newly-ordained Deacon Tony Trippi gives his first homily at his newly assigned Parish, St. Michael’s in McKinney, Texas

By Charlie Johnston

It is not just because the above picture is a beautiful shot that I published it (though that helped). I first met Tony and his wife, Amanda, Trippi six years ago. They hosted a talk just north of Dallas for me. The night before, I had dinner with the volunteers who had organized the event. After dinner I asked each of the volunteers to tell me a little about themselves. When it came time for Tony to speak, he gave me an incredibly moving moment. He said that for a couple of years he had just been getting angrier and angrier at the state of society and its continual decline. The constant anger had become a significant problem, even affecting his relationship with his wife. He said that someone (I think his wife, Amanda) encouraged him to read my writings. Tony said that when he started reading me, his anger started dissipating and he became himself again. He ended by thanking me for giving him back his peace.

I told him on this visit (though I had hidden it at the time) that his story had me struggling to keep tears back. It was just a coincidence that I was in Dallas on the occasion of his inaugural homily – but what a glorious coincidence it was! I am so delighted that I was there to see him launch his public ministry. 

His wife, Amanda, is a delight, too. She is a tough, opinionated, young woman who yet has a striking grace and charm. I am quite familiar with her type – as well I should be. She comes from a little town called Oneonta, Alabama, near Birmingham, where I have some old-time relatives, as well. 

A commitment to the Diaconate is a commitment by both husband and wife of mutual service to the faithful and the Church. Thank you for your service, Tony and Amanda – and for all the Deacons who have enriched so many of our lives. May you have many decades of faithful service and bear much fruit that will last.


It was a tough travel day yesterday. We were supposed to end the day in Flagstaff, Arizona and see the Grand Canyon today. Alas, there was a major multiple-vehicle accident on I-40 west of Albuquerque that shut traffic down for most of the day. We tried two alternate routes but both of those were shut down by flooding (We had rare moderate rain in the desert much of yesterday. Moderate rain is tough in the desert: the ground is so dry and packed that it does not easily absorb the water. Thus, what would be a gentle, soaking rain in the Midwest is a flood hazard in desert towns). After 140 miles of flailing about and having to backtrack, we finally holed up for the night in Albuquerque.

Albuquerque is a lovely city with a stark landscape. My favorite feature of it is the Sandia Mountain to the east of the city. Sandia means “watermelon” in Spanish – and it is well-named. Often, just before dusk, when the sun hits it just right, it turns a deep red, like a watermelon. It is breathtaking. Alas, we didn’t even get that consolation prize yesterday, as it was rainy and overcast. I’ve seen it before, but my grandson, Camron, has not.

We will try again for Flagstaff today, but we will only get to slide by the Grand Canyon rather than explore it a bit – and depending on when we get there, we may not get to get by it at all.

Sandia Mountains, east of Albuquerque, at dusk


I have been lightly engaging with some lefties on Facebook and Twitter, these days. It is a good exercise, if you can manage the discipline for it. The temptation, of course, is to engage in a flame war, which does nothing productive and distracts you from your daily duty. But if you can make your point then move on with your day, ignoring the barrage of insults and provocations, it is good practice for how to behave in a crisis time of chaos, which draws ever nearer. Sometimes I stumble, but it is a nice practice on how to keep your eyes on the prize amidst the shrieking. (I must confess, the level of smug, shrieking, arrogant, ignorance on Twitter is sometimes stunning to behold – and hard to ignore. Doing so is like successfully completing the highest level on some old video games.)

Speaking of Facebook, I get, as most of you do, tons of “friend” requests. Since some people like to follow my posts via Facebook, I approve a lot from people I do not know personally. If, however, your photo section only includes a bunch of selfies, I will not approve the request. Selfies are like dandelions: One is okay but a basketful is WAY too much. Obviously, I routinely delete requests from scantily-clad lovely young lasses. I am not under the illusion that there is a cohort of gorgeous 20-something women who have suddenly developed a mad romantic passion for chubby old men. So if you actually are a gorgeous young lass who wants to follow my writing on Facebook, dress modestly in your friend request. Finally, I am glad that Facebook allows folks who may be lonely to make new friends to chat with. It is good to engage with each other. But I have a hard enough time keeping up with my actual friends, so I do NOT do any chats on Facebook except with people I know in real life.


Just days after 14 Senate Republicans made a deal to sell our 2nd Amendment rights down the river, the Supreme Court today made a stand to protect those rights. And the band played on.


My next talk will be on Sunday, June 26, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Oak Knoll Village Clubhouse, 28192 O’Neill Dr., Ladera Ranch, CA 92694. You can get more information or pre-register here. I will speak again in Riverside, CA on Wednesday, June 29, from 5 to 9 p.m. For information on that one, go here


Camron and I had a wonderful time visiting friends, advisors and historic sites throughout Texas. For the first time ever, I passed the military housing where my Dad was stationed when my Mom got pregnant with me. At bottom, I am a native Texan. I do love the state – and my grandson, Cam, has fallen in love with it, too. 


Within days now the Supreme Court will issue its ruling on whether or not to overturn Roe v Wade in its Dobbs case. Shoot, it may have already been issued by the time this hits print. 

In another glorious coincidence, I will be spending a good chunk of time with David Daleiden as the issue is decided (he will probably be at one or both of my southern California talks.) I will go to Mass with him Sunday and then we will spend the afternoon visiting before my Ladera Ranch talk. Things are getting dark in many areas throughout the world, but there are signs of light along our way. The Texas heartbeat law, Oklahoma’s near ban of abortion altogether. Six or seven years ago David and I were talking about the strategy going forward (it was at about the time that Harris County, Texas, perverted a grand jury supposed to investigate Planned Parenthood (PP) and instead targeted David. After compelling evidence came out – which PP admitted – of collusion between PP and the District Atty’s office, the charges were dismissed. Both the District Attorney and the ADA who pressed the case lost their jobs over this shameful episode). At one point I noted that organizations which have gotten their way through sheer muscle for too long lose the capacity for any other strategy and become paper tigers. I suggested that PP would try to frighten David from the field and that, failing that, they would try to bankrupt him. When both failed, they would have nothing left.

The legal battles between Daleiden and PP – and the state of California – continue. David has not prevailed over them yet. But he has destroyed the aura of invincibility around PP and the abortion culture. That, I think, has been a prime catalyst for the many setbacks the abortion culture has suffered these last few years. David has achieved what he has by relentlessly taking the next right step at each moment. Victory is never easy when fighting evil, but it comes to those who endure and keep their heads.


The Dept. of Homeland Security has warned some Catholic Dioceses that pro-abortion zealots may be planning a “Night of Rage” following the Dobbs decision, specifically targeting Catholic Churches. LifeNews reported in a Tweet yesterday that:

“60 pro-life groups and pregnancy centers have been firebombed, trashed, vandalized and attacked by radical abortion activists and Joe Biden and his incompetent administration haven’t arrested a single person.”

This is obviously a threat to be taken seriously, since pro-abortion zealots have been violently attacking crisis pregnancy centers and pro-life facilities for weeks now, with no concern shown by the lowlifes running the federal government. Pay attention to your surroundings at Mass this weekend. 

While I hate that this administration has declared open season on Christians, tolerating and sometimes slyly encouraging violent attacks on us, I am a bit flattered that the pro-abortion zealots are targeting Catholics as the most steadfast supporters of life. I wish that there were more evidence to support the charge. And though you are not the general targets, I strongly encourage my faithful Protestant friends to be equally vigilant this weekend, especially if you are full-throated in your defense of life. We must defend ourselves, because the government has already shown it doesn’t give a tinker’s dam about violence against Christians and conservatives.

Let’s be careful out there.

If communication goes out for any length of time, meet outside your local Church at 9 a.m. on Saturday mornings. Tell friends at Church now in case you can’t then. CORAC teams will be out looking for people to gather in and work with.

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11 thoughts on “Roses in the Cultural Desert

  1. Love this title, Charlie, and the travel stories filled with beauty, joy and pressing on when faced with unplanned circumstances.

    I also love the story of the roses in the snow which Our Lady of Tepeyac arranged in the Tilma of Juan Diego. We are at once in a cultural desert and a worldwide wasteland steeped in ice and snow… much like Narnia. And in the yellow rose of Texas and the miraculous roses on Tepeyac Hill we have Signs of Hope that Our Lady remains with us as we press forward in the chill of the enemy at work in those who persist in choosing his wicked ways.

    Liked by 8 people

  2. Be careful, Charlie at the Grand Canyon as over 100 people have become ill:
    “Grand Canyon National Park is currently experiencing an outbreak of a gastrointestinal illness that closely resembles norovirus, a disease that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, cramping, body aches, and mild fever. According to the CDC, norovirus is “very contagious” and anybody can get infected—the disease can be spread through direct contact with an infected person, contact with a contaminated SURFACE, or ingestion of contaminated food or drink. While the symptoms can become intensely unpleasant, norovirus rarely leads to death or serious illness..”

    Godspeed to Charlie, Camron and David D.

    Liked by 6 people

  3. Yes sir, arguing with the diabolically disoriented on Twitter is a minefield, to say the least. I’ve had this as a daily reminder that pops up on my phone every morning for a few years now:
    “Be still before the Lord; wait for Him. Do not be provoked by the prosperous, nor by malicious schemers. Refrain from anger; abandon wrath; do not be provoked; it brings only harm.”

    Liked by 8 people

  4. Thank you for highlighting so many faithful people, Charlie! Godspeed all! We just finished listening to the Bible in a Year, last chapter in Joshua (we’re a bit behind 😏): “Choose today who you will serve…as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!”

    Liked by 5 people

  5. Thank you Charlie for your reminder to be watchful around church this wknd with the possibility of a
    SCOTUS opinion imminent.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. JESUS = GOOD NEWS! … 😉

    Thank The Lord!!! Roe vs Wade Overturned!!! 😉
    … but satanic Radicals have selected Targets, already planned Days of Rage if the Court did not submit to Intimidation …. BE PREPARED!!!

    The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

    Of Course, Radical Democrats NEVER apologize, regret actions, change course or appear on venues where hard questions may be asked …. and THEY seldom resign unless The DemocratParty & Media decide THEy are no longer useful to The Agenda!

    We are being Set-Up & Demonized by the very same people who demonized the Military and Capitalists in the 60-70s and Police, Pro-Life/Family, White People & Producer Class today!! It ain’t gonna end well. Be-Prepared!!

    The Trump-Haters Are Now Desperate–CONRAD BLACK


    Liked by 2 people

  7. Michigan governor Whitmer about overturning Roe v. Wade: “This is scary”.

    Hopefully this is getting scary for her boss from way downstairs too.

    Liked by 5 people

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